After years of battling the Govt-19 epidemic, many countries are slowly returning to normalcy after completing their locks. But in North Korea The story is different.
Two years later, without reporting a Govt case, Pyongyang reported in the state press on May 16 that more than a million people were sickened by what is known as the “flu”.
As the government of 25 million countries is known for its secrecy, the real numbers may be higher than the official numbers. In addition North Korea Has limited testing capability.
The reasons for the problems can be seen in this report North Korea
WHO says high levels of spread and some vaccines pose a high risk of variation, as in North Korea
So far, at least 56 people have died, but it is not known how many of the suspected cases tested positive for the virus.
The North Korea It was only last week that the first confirmed cases of goiter were reported, although experts believe the virus may have spread for some time.
“This evil epidemic has spread and is the biggest uprising in our country since its inception,” the country’s president, Kim Jong-un, was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency.
As a result, his government imposed “maximum emergency” control nationally. The North Korea It is already the most isolated country on the planet.
Liz Throssell, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), expressed concern Tuesday (17/5) about the prison’s “possible impact on human rights” imposed by the authorities.
Three questions help to understand how North Korea Came to this point.
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a train station in Seoul, South Korea. – Photo: Ahn Young-Jun / AB
1. Rejection of international assistance
The North Korea It rejected the help of the international community to provide the country with vaccines, believing that only the border closures imposed in January 2020 could contain the virus.
Drugs and personal protective equipment in short supply in North Korea – Photo: Getty Images / BBC
Alistair Coleman, BBC expert North KoreaHe says the North’s reasons for rejecting the dose of vaccines from abroad are not clear.
“Some sources believe that waiting for more effective mRNA vaccines is better than vaccinating people with less effective injections,” he explains.
“Another line of thinking is that foreign vaccine supplies come with conditions unacceptable to Pyongyang.”
Key Park, a professor of global health and community medicine at Harvard University, has other reasons. First, the traditional North Korean philosophical theory known as “juche” emphasizes self-confidence.
“Asking for help is not easy for them,” the professor explains in an interview with the BBC’s Spanish service, BBC News Mundo.
In addition, he explains, since the outbreak began, humanitarian cargo has entered. South Korea The entry of goods and outsiders was reduced as the authorities considered it as a possible route for the virus to enter.
North Korea rejects international community offer to vaccinate – Photo: Getty Images / via BBC
“Because the virus is already in the country, they need to re-evaluate the risks and benefits of foreign aid,” Park says.
In recent days, a group of planes from the North Korean state-owned airline Air Correa have made several flights to China after being grounded for more than two years.
“These planes may suggest a change in the layout of the aircraft North Korea To accept air cargo “, says the expert.
According to him, this will have significant implications if they finally decide to accept the help of other international organizations.
2. Disorders of the health system
Currently, The North Korea It does not have the capacity to test its population, and the shortage of essential drugs and equipment to deal with the corona virus is increasing.
Says Professor Key Park South Korea It is a low-income country, with limited health care.
“Despite the relatively high density of health workers, the system will struggle to cope with the increase in patients,” he says.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – Photo: via EPA / BBC
Alistair Coleman, Expert North KoreaPyongyang’s response to Govt explains that it has always denied the existence of the virus in the country.
“The government’s response is to close its borders and implement a health strategy to prevent epidemics, spraying in public places such as train stations, schools and hospitals.”
But the country cannot be prepared to fight the disease.
“The health system is terrible,” said Jeon Baek, founder of Lumen, a voluntary charity that oversees. North Korea.
“This is a very poor system. Out of the two million people living in Pyongyang, most people in the country have access to very poor quality health care.”
People who fled North Korea In the past it has been said that syringe needles are reused until they rust and beer bottles are transformed into temporary salt containers.
In addition to the unvaccinated population, there is a shortage of drugs and personal protective equipment.
The number of trials is very low: according to the World Health Organization, only 64,000 trials have been performed since the outbreak.
In comparison, the South Korea Has done 172 million tests so far.
3. Low joint immunity
As a result of Pyongyang’s rejection of international community assistance to vaccinate the population, the country’s herd immunity is very low.
Despite the rumors, some elites North Korea Vaccinated, most North Koreans received no medication against Govt.
In fact, during epidemics, the state media warned of the ineffectiveness and dangers of vaccines against Govt.
Harvard professor Key Park says the population is “immune to the SARS-Cove-2 virus” and has had all of its variants, with no confirmed Govt-19 cases in the past two years.
“So far they have not had any outbreaks, so no one has developed immunity. Also, they still need to vaccinate people. They mainly do not have immune protection,” he adds.
The World Health Organization on Monday expressed its “concern” over the situation North KoreaThe Omigran variant has already affected nearly 1.5 million people in the Asian country since late April.
“Since the country has not yet launched a vaccine against Govt-19, there is a risk that the virus will spread rapidly if the virus is not curtailed with immediate and appropriate measures,” WHO Regional Director Ketrapal Singh warned in a statement.
OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said that in the absence of a vaccine campaign, the spread of the epidemic “could have a devastating impact on the human rights situation in the country.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Throzel called on North Korean officials to discuss with the United Nations the opening of humanitarian aid channels, including medicines, vaccines, equipment and other life-saving support.
“We urge the authorities to facilitate the return of international and UN officials to assist in providing assistance, including to vulnerable people and those living in rural and border areas.”
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